“I Worried about Their Future,” Ensign, Jan. 2005, 68–69
I grew up in an environment where many men smoked, drank, and lived unchaste lives. I saw this kind of example in my own family and in most of the men in the vicinity, so I came to believe it was normal. At the early age of 20, I got married. Four years later, after we had three children, we divorced. But I later met a wonderful woman, who not only accepted me with three children but gave us five more. We have been married for more than 30 years.
One day about 22 years ago I began to fear greatly for the future of my eight children. I didn’t want them to go through the same dangerous situations I had, and I was afraid they would be lost in the wickedness of the world. I didn’t know what to do to help them, but I became very receptive to the things of God. Whenever someone knocked on the door with a religious message, I opened my door and my heart. I listened attentively, accepted their pamphlets, and went with them to their houses of worship. Still, I wasn’t at peace; I couldn’t find what I was looking for.
A few years passed, and a pair of young missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to our home. With my wife and our five children (the other three lived with their mother), I began to hear the discussions, attend church, and get acquainted with the members and their beliefs. After several months we made the wise decision to join the Church, and 17 years have now gone by.
I understood that I had to make changes in my life if I wanted to teach my children the right way. For example, I could not teach them to keep the Word of Wisdom and live a chaste life if I was not living these commandments. By striving to live the teachings of the gospel, I was able to change my life and teach my children. I was also able to baptize my three children from my first marriage and get them back from the world. All eight children belong to the Church now. Four have served missions. One was too old to go on a mission, but he served as a stake mission president. Six are married, all in the temple.
At the beginning of 1999, we had a regional conference in southern Florida. After fulfilling an assignment to deliver earphones for the conference translation, I went into a hall where thousands of Church members were seated. I remained standing at the back of the hall, and I was able to observe one of my sons with his baby. I looked in another direction and saw another son with his wife and children.
A wonderful feeling of joy came over me at that moment, and I could not keep tears from my eyes. I remembered those terrible days when I was so worried about my children’s future. Now I was weeping for joy because I no longer had those worries.
The gospel and true Church of Jesus Christ made it possible for us to find the right way to help our children and to have joy and happiness. Christ is the light guiding our lives. His teachings persuade us to do good.